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HomeStudyWhat is the Dental Admission Test (DAT)?

What is the Dental Admission Test (DAT)?

Dental school may be the right choice for you if you’ve always liked going to the dentist (or maybe you just appreciate what he or she does! ), are meticulous about dental cleanliness, and enjoy learning about the sciences. However, passing the Dental Admission Test is required in order to start your career as a dental student. Before taking the exam, it is essential to become more familiar with the Dental Admission Test, including what it is, how to register, its structure and components, grading, and what to do next.

Check: Top Dental Schools That Do Not Require DAT

What is the Dental Admission Test?

The DAT, also referred to as the Dental Admission Test, is a test necessary for admission to dental schools in the United States and Canada. The American Dental Association, or ADA, administers the test. It is one of the requirements for graduate school applications, along with admissions essays, undergraduate GPA and coursework, and a personal interview, among other things. The admissions board gives careful consideration to each of these variables. As a result, doing well on the exam enhances your candidacy and potential as a dental student.


There are a few actions that must be taken in order to take the DAT exam.

  1. Take a look at the Dental Admission Test Examinee Guide (PDF). Information should be read, printed, underlined, and kept close to hand. Before you even register for the exam, you can learn more about the DAT from this abundance of useful material.
  2. Purchase a DENTPIN. You will be given a unique username called a DENTPIN that promotes security and privacy before, during, and after the testing procedure. You must go to the following ADA in order to get a DENTPIN.
  3. The following step is to register online with a credit card. $385 is the price, and it is non-refundable.
  4. The ADA will notify Prometric testing locations of your acceptance after the ADA has granted your application. The exam will be given at one of these testing facilities.
  5. You’ll get an email about setting up a test day, which needs to happen within six months of your application being accepted.

The previous steps must be finished before you can begin learning.

Dental Admission Test

Test Structure

So what can be learned about the DAT’s test structure? The Dental Admission Test has multiple-choice questions that must be answered using a computer. Within the six-month testing window, the Dental Admission Test is offered at your convenience at Prometric testing facilities around the country. The Dental Admission Test has four sections in addition to a break, an optional segment, and a lesson at the start of the test. The exam lasts four hours and fifteen minutes without the additional components, and five hours with them. Here is a breakdown of the sections and time:

Section Alloted Time
Optional Tutorial 15 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences 90 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 60 minutes
Optional Break 15 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 60 minutes
Quantitative Reading Test 45 minutes
Optional Post Test Survey 15 minutes


Let’s examine the amount of questions and general themes assessed now that you have a better idea of the structure of the DAT exam, the four sections, and the time given for each.

Section Questions General Topics
Survey of Natural Sciences 100 questions Biology (40 items)
General Chemistry (30 items)
Organic Chemistry (30 items)
Perceptual Ability Test 90 questions Contains six subtests:
View Recognition
Angle Discrimination
Paper Folding
Cube Counting
3D Form Development
Reading Comprehension Test 50 questions A variety of topics are covered in order to test reading comprehension
Quantitative Reading Test 40 questions Mathematics- Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability, Statistics, Numeric Calculations and Conversions


Please refer to the “Test Content and Test Preparation Materials” section of the DAT Examinee Guide for even more detailed information regarding Dental Admission Test content.


You can now more accurately respond to the question “what is the Dental Admission Test?” It is important to consider the grading scheme and analyze the real significance of the results. For your benefit, there are no consequences for incorrect guesses, so if in doubt, take an educated estimate. There are no points to be lost—only gained.

There are no passing or failing scores on the test; instead, it is rated from 1 to 30. Since test results are scaled, the average varies depending on the year and test, but a general national average can be calculated as a scaled score of 17, or just over half.

Of course, your admission to dental school is influenced by the grade you receive, and what constitutes a “good” grade depends on how prestigious the school is. However, entering any dentistry school is a significant accomplishment, so worrying over your grades is not a good idea.

Also Read: 20 Best Dental Hygienist Schools in Texas

Exam Date

It is crucial to comprehend the conduct guidelines in the DAT Examinee Guide prior to the test. Two genuine forms of identification, such as a state license and passport (no copies are permitted), are required. Both a picture and a signature are required on the primary ID, but only a signature is required on the secondary ID. If you’d like, the backup ID may be a credit or debit card. Both on these kinds of identification and on your Dental Admission Test application, your name and address must match exactly. Please visit the Prometric website to learn more about the Dental Admission Test on test day if you are unsure about what to anticipate.

After the Test

You put in a lot of effort, studied hard, and passed the Dental Admission Test. What comes next? Time to wait for your test results. Fortunately, there is little waiting since you will get your preliminary results right away at your neighborhood Prometric testing facility. You can keep the scaled results that follow. The official results, on the other hand, will be published three to four weeks after the exam and forwarded to your chosen schools. These are the institutions that you listed on your Dental Admission Test application after registering, in full.

Dental Admission Test

Tips for Passing the Dental Admission Test

Allocate at least three to four months to your Dental Admission Test preparation. Numerous sites advise 200–250 hours. For a period of three months, allocate three hours per day, five days per week.

  1. Find a DAT study partner who will keep you inspired and on track.Take two or three real-world simulated practice tests; this is the most accurate way to recreate the testing environment.
  2. Don’t spend too much time memorizing specifics. The Dental Admission Test does not test reiterating facts; it measures critical thinking and application. Concentrate on the core ideas.
  3. Read more often than you practice. Consider developing a new reading habit or working with a speed reading teacher if you don’t read for pleasure very often.
  4. Make a study schedule, and spend more time on the subjects that are challenging to you.
  5. Set up a schedule and make sure you continue to eat healthy and get enough sleep.

Practice exams, the Dental Admission Test Guide, and details on getting a DENTPIN® can all be found on the American Dental Association (ADA) website.

Why Should You Study Dentistry?

1. Change their Patients’ Lives while Restoring their Oral Health.

The satisfaction, privilege, and joy of positively impacting a patient’s life by restoring oral health can frequently be experienced by a dentist in only one visit, whether it be through preventative care, dental restoration procedures, pain relief, or dento-facial esthetics.

2. Be Autonomous in their Professions.

Following dental school, dentists have the possibility to start their own enterprises. As a result, they have a great deal of independence and are free to set their own professional and business aspirations.

3. Make a Nice Living.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s 2019 Survey of Dental Practice, the average net income for a general practitioner in private practice in 2018 was $190,440, while it was $330,180 for dental specialists. The type of practice has an impact on income, which varies across the nation.

4. Pick a Career from a Variety of Choices.

Despite the fact that the majority of dental school graduates work in general dentistry in private practice, the field offers a wide range of clinical, academic, and research options to dentists at all career stages.

5. Keep an Adaptable Lifestyle.

Dentistry practitioners have a variety of career and practice alternatives, so they can pick the lifestyle they want to lead as well as the hours and days they work.

6. The Future of Oral Health Care can be Shaped.

The dentist can make a substantial impact on the future direction of oral health care in addition to clinical practice by participating in dental education and research. By becoming faculty members in dental education, dental educators have the power to influence the dental school curriculum and the professional role of the dentist. By identifying novel oral health phenomena and applying cutting-edge scientific findings, dentists conduct research to enhance the field of dentistry and provide solutions to a wide range of oral health problems.

7. Be Regarded as Honorable Citizens.

For their contributions to the public’s overall health and their desire to better the lives of those around them, dentists are highly respected by the communities they serve.

8. They Regularly Use Creativity in their Work.

A lot of people describe dentistry as an art. It necessitates specialized knowledge and skill. While preserving good oral health is the main focus of dentistry, it also has an aesthetic component. A significant portion of dentistry entails tooth restoration and creating a smile that the patient is proud to display to others.

9. Collaborate as a Team.

Although the dentist is frequently depicted as the “lone practitioner,” dentistry is actually a profession that values collaboration. The dentist experiences a great deal of satisfaction as a key member of the team, whether it is the dental team (dental hygienist, assistant, and lab technician) cooperating with the patient to ensure the restoration and maintenance of oral health or the dentist’s participation on an interprofessional team, working with other health professionals to improve overall health.

10. Benevolently Look after their Neighborhoods.

The dentist is granted the luxury and capacity to deliver oral healthcare to those communities and populations that sorely need access and affordability thanks to a yearly income that is significantly higher than the national average and a flexible work schedule.

Dental Admission Test

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is the DAT exam?

Due to its thorough examination of numerous topics and the time restrictions imposed on test takers, the DAT is regarded as difficult. Your understanding of biology, general and organic chemistry, perceptual skills, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning are all evaluated by the test.

What portion of the DAT is the most difficult?

On the DAT, organic chemistry.
Organic chemistry comprises 30 questions and is sometimes regarded as the most challenging portion. Mechanisms, organic analysis, molecular characteristics, stereochemistry, bonding, and other ideas are covered.

Do I have a month to prepare for the DAT?

Even though it is strongly advised to have at least two months to prepare for the DAT, it is possible to finish in one month. You'll have to compress a lot of material into a short amount of time, but if you're consistent and diligent, you can study enough for the DAT.



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